When you hear "classic" what do you think of? I generally think of something that is of "timeless quality" (incidentally, this is a part of the definition of what it means to be classic). Hash is 100% in the category of "classic" since it has origins as old as at least the 1600's. Hash derives from the French word "to chop" and was a way to use up leftovers.
"Hash is a protean food, compelling at breakfast, comforting at lunch and unexpectedly satisfying for supper. The basic formula can be applied to almost any leftover. Good hash is like an impressionist painting: a marriage of individual flavors in a bright, harmonious whole." according to one Los Angeles Times article first published in 1997. I couldn't have said it better myself and the basic recipe of potatoes, protein and onion continues to be a dish enjoyed the world over in classical form.
Sustainability Spotlight: What else transcends time to be a "classic" discussion, much like recipes for hash? Sustainability. The concept of sustainability is often traced back to Hans Carl von Carlowitz (1645-1714) as it applied to forestry (original term was Nachhaltigkeit or sustained yield), but "...the idea itself goes back to times immemorial, as communities have always worried about the capacity of their environment to sustain them in the long term." (Wikipedia.org).
The concept of sustainability has evolved over time (along with society and humans in general) and was marked with a significant shift in the 1980s where sustainability began to be used more in terms of how humans live on the planet (The World Energy Foundation). In the 1990s / early 2000s, sustainability continued to be about corporations and governments, and their impacts on the planet and the global attribution of our pollution and degradation of resources. Only until recently, have I seen a significant effort towards sustainability metrics at an individual's impact level. These last 10 years or so have represented an enlightenment (if you will) on our individual choices and how those choices shape the overall sustainable footprint of our communities.
We have come full circle. From the original desire for communities to deliver on sustainability, to the macro focus, back down to the individual effort; we are all impacting the planet. The waves of regard for innovation have intersected with our understanding from a scientific standpoint that what we have historically done should be tolerated no longer.
Starting this week (10/31/2021), the UN Climate Change Conference (UK 2021) or COP26 kicked off in Glasgow. COP26 is the 26th United Nations Climate Change conference and will last for approximately 2 weeks. Many might be surprised that on this 26th version of the conference are there sweeping propositions for deforestation, net-zero emissions benchmarking and negotiations on carbon-trading rules, and real investment ($130 trillion) on vows to put climate at the heart of global financing. These are true advancements to the discussions on the global crisis we find ourselves in 2021 for climate change and sustainability practices. No longer are we jostling for (just) political capital, but rather we are rushing to be leaders for enacting change. Of course, talk does not equal action, but if our political leaders can justify the time, money and challenges of not only discussing but committing to action for advancing sustainability, we as individuals should be doing it as well.
In the very "classic" sense of sustainability, consider impacts you are making to your immediate communities with decisions you make in selection of food and menu planning. Using recipes like this for a vegan approach even just one day a week can make an impact. Let's all be "classic" and serve as a "standard of excellence" for the planet and our fellow humans by recognizing what we do and how we do can have significant legacy (for good, or not). Choosing the "good" and investing in ourselves and the planet, is the only way we have a future.
1.5 lbs creamer potatoes (quartered)
1 red bell pepper (chopped)
1/2 small yellow onion (chopped)
1 jalapeno (de-seeded and minced)
7-8 roasted garlic cloves (diced)
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
6 apple-maple vegan breakfast sausages (I used Fieldroast); sliced
1/2 block smoked tempeh (crumbled - optional; I used my own smoked tempeh; 2 hours at 250 degrees F using pecan wood)
avocado oil (to taste / as needed for your pan)
5-6 tbsp vegetable stock (to taste / as needed for your pan)
1 handful spinach (chopped)
1/2 block almond cheese (shredded)
Parboil your potatoes - set a steamer basket inside a large pot filled with ~4 inches of water. Heat pan (covered) over medium-high heat and steam potatoes for ~10-12 minutes until soft. Remove from pan in steamer basket to cool slightly. Careful here, you do not want them falling apart, just easily pierced with a fork. I steam vs. boil so that we have a "fluffy" coating to work with in the pan from the potato flesh which aids in the crispness.
In a large cast iron pan, heat some avocado oil (~1 tbsp) over Medium-High heat. Once it shimmers, add ingredients above bell pepper through smoked tempeh. and saute ~5-7 minutes until vegetables soften and proteins brown slightly.
Add potatoes, 3 tbsp of vegetable stock and additional avocado oil (~2-3 tbsp). Sprinkle with salt & pepper. Stir in spinach and cook the mixture for 3-4 minutes to brown potatoes. Turn off heat.
Turn on your oven to High on Broil setting. Now, sprinkle cheese evenly over the top of the hash and slide the pan (carefully! the pan is very hot; use hot pads) into the oven. Close door and set timer for 6 minutes. Check to see if browned at ~4-5 minutes. Add more time as needed or remove from oven (carefully! the pan is very hot; use hot pads) and set aside to cool slightly.
Serve in bowls with generous portions.
With love & hope for a better future for all of us - Jamie